America’s drunk shopping habit |

America’s drunk shopping habit hits $30.43 billion

Are Americans making poor decisions after drinking?

With St. Patrick’s around the corner, some Americans may already worry about their spending habits ahead of the year’s biggest drinking extravaganza. Nearly half of American adults (46%) who drink alcohol regularly admit to making a purchase while under the influence — an estimated 68 million people, drawn from our study of 2,000 American adults.

The biggest concern? Our drunk shopping addiction may be rising, given we’re spending double the amount on last year’s purchases while under the influence!

Americans have spent an estimated $30.43 billion on these spontaneous drunk purchases, or about $447.57 per person. Compare this to just $206 spent on drunk purchases last year.

Come March 17th, the sound of your credit card declining might just be worse than your hangover.

Boozing by the numbers

  • 60.27% of American adults — or an estimated 148 million of us — drink an average 7 alcoholic beverages weekly.
  • We spend $5.4 billion on alcoholic beverages a week — an average $36.56 per person.
  • The most popular alcoholic drink is beer, with 39.53% of American adults drinking an average 5 beers weekly.
  • Men are twice as likely as women to consume beer, with an estimated 53.4% of men enjoying a beer, compared with only 26.48% of women who pick up a can weekly.
  • Wine is a woman’s drink of choice, with 37.54% of women enjoying an average 2 glasses a week.
  • Millennials are twice as likely as Gen Xers and baby boomers combined to enjoy a glass of moonshine or other liquor.
  • Men are twice as likely as women to consume spirits, with an estimated 36.49% of men regularly boozing up on liquor compared with 18.43% of women.

Shop ’til you drop …

Our research reveals what tipsy shoppers are most likely to spend on soaking up their alcohol: Some 60.83% of shoppers say they spend up on food. The next most common purchases are shoes and clothes (25.09%) and gambling (24.91%). Yet others admit to buying concert tickets and even prostitution under the influence. Gives a whole new meaning to “shop ’til you drop!” doesn’t it?


Gen Xers spend the most on drunk purchases, averaging $738.87 per haul — more than triple the amount ($206.11) that millennials spent.

But while Gen Xers spend more, millennials are more likely to spontaneously indulge on a spree their next night out, with 61.07% of millennials who drink regularly admitting to drunk shopping. Compared that to Gen Xers at 51.17% and baby boomers at 31.29%.

But which generation embodies the biggest drinker? On an average week, a Gen Xer spends $36.91 on alcohol, compared with $59.28 a week for millennials. That’s a whopping $1,163.24 extra that millennials spend on booze each year! That’s a whole new perspective on their “indulgent” avocado toast habit.


Surprisingly, men spend almost double that of women when under the influence, averaging a total $564.51 per spend, compared to women, who spend an average $282.65. Compounding this, men are also more likely to buy while boozed up, with 48.19% of men who drink regularly admitting to a drunken shop, compared with the 41.36% of women who do so.

On an average week, men spend an estimated $44.17 on alcohol — much higher than the average $26.77 women spend to drink. That’s an extra $904.80 that men spend on booze than women in a year!

Spirits and liquor appear more popular with men than women. Men are four times more likely (3.30%) to enjoy a sneaky moonshine than their female counterparts (0.68%). And it’s nearly twice as likely that men (8.45%) will consume cider than women (4.36%).

Marital Status

Married Americans spend twice as much on spontaneous drunk purchases than their divorced counterparts, with an average $327.62 spent in total compared to a divorcee’s $147.71. However, singletons are the most likely to make a purchase while drunk: 55.78% of single people admitting to making a purchase while under the influence, compared with only 43.63% of married drinkers.

Bear in mind, we’re reporting figures for adults only. However illegal it is for teens to imbibe, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in five youths ages 12 to 20 drink alcohol, and 11% of all alcohol consumed in the US is consumed by 12- to 20-year-olds!

How do our drunk shopping habits compare to the UK?

Although Brits are more likely to drink regularly than us, we take the cake for shopping under the influence – but only just! On average, each of us spends more ($447.57) than our counterparts in the UK ($404.71). Check out the table below for the numbers in-depth.
80.45% Brits drink alcohol regularly 60.27% of American adults have at least one drink a week on average
45.80% of those who drink have drunk shopped 46% of us who drink alcohol regularly admit to making a purchase while under the influence
36.35% of Brits (over 15 million) have made drunk purchases in the past 27.69% of us (an estimated 68 million) have made drunk purchases in the past
The average total cost of these drunk purchases is an estimated $404.71 (£291.07) each in the UK We spend a bit more spend on average per person, at $447.57, compared to $206 last year
Approximately $6.20 billion (£4.46 billion) is blown on drunk shopping nationally Americans have spent an estimated $30.43 billion on these spontaneous drunk purchases
Men (47.35%) are more likely than women (44.30%) to make drunk purchases Men are also more likely to drink and shop in the US (48.19% of men vs 41.36% of women)
Men ($506.98) spend more than women ($296.65) Men ($564.51) also spend more than women ($282.65) in the US
Millennials (59.29% ) make the most drunk purchases, followed by Gen Xers (51.70%) and baby boomers (31.36%) This is the same in the US, with 61.07% of millennials who drink regularly admitting to drunk shopping, followed by Gen Xers (51.17%) and baby boomers (31.29%)
Gen X spends the most individually at an average of $520.57, followed by baby boomers ($440.82) and millennials ($253.56) Gen X again spends the most on drunk purchases ($738.87), then baby boomers ($246.51) and millennials ($206.11)

Want to have your Guinness and drink it too?

We rounded up some strategies to avoid the extra headache on your next credit card bill. Prevent impulse purchases by downloading’s Icebox Chrome plugin, which helps you put purchases “on ice” for a spell before you’re able to complete that online purchase.

There are also quite a few apps and Chrome extensions out there that can help you curb your spending until you’re thinking more clearly.

Brand Features
  • Link your credit and debit cards to the app, and choose how many drinks you plan to have in advance.
  • Select which types of payments to block for 12 hours, including bars, restaurants, online shopping and more.
  • If you try to make a purchase, a breathalyzer that’s connected to your system through Bluetooth is used to authorize the payment.
  • If you’re under your predefined limit, the payment can be made. Otherwise, the cards are blocked and can’t be used.
  • If your cards are all blocked, a special feature allows you to call an Uber to get home safely.
  • Available for iOS and Android devices.
  • Block any websites, like Amazon or your favorite stores, for a certain amount time.
  • Track the time you spend on certain websites to maximize efficiency.
  • Create custom focus plans tailored to your personal routine to boost your productivity.
  • Available for macOS, Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7 devices as well as a free app on Android.
  • Block websites, apps or even the whole Internet with the click of a button.
  • Start a block on the fly or schedule blocks in advance, like during the hours you’re most likely under the influence.
  • Create customizable block lists, like one with all your go-to stores for drunk shopping.
  • Available for macOS, Windows Vista, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and iOS devices.
  • This free Chrome extension lets you block entire websites or just specific pages.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on certain websites so you have to stay focused.
  • Nuclear Option lets you block sites for a certain number of hours, like late at night when you’re most likely to be drunk and tempted to shop.
  • Available for devices using Google Chrome.
  • Past drunk shopping surveys

    For media inquiries:

    Jennifer McDermott profile picture
    Jennifer McDermott

    Consumer advocate helping people improve their personal finances.

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